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How Can I Stop my Dog’s Litter Box Diving?

Our local vet has prescribed For-Bid for our dog because he likes to go "litterbox Diving" and he eats what he finds. I know MSG...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Dec 14th 2009


Our local vet has prescribed For-Bid for our dog because he likes to go “litterbox Diving” and he eats what he finds. I know MSG is bad for humans. Will it hurt the cats or dog? Is there a homeopathic solution?

Thank you for your time – Misty

Misty
Medford, OR

About once each year the pressure builds up and I need to answer a question that shows up in my inbox nearly every day. The question takes two basic forms. It either boils down to Why do dogs eat poop? or How can I keep my dog from eating poop?

The boiled down answers are as follows. Dogs eat poop because they’re dogs. There are all kinds of quasi-scientific explanations for why dogs engage in this particular behavior. Some people think dogs eat feces because it smells interesting. Others think it’s because dogs evolved to consume human garbage, and feces is part of human garbage. But when push comes to shove nobody can explain it.

There is only one guaranteed way to stop your dog from eating feces: don’t let him have access to feces. If he likes to clean the litter box, put it in a place he can’t access.

A friend of mine (a veterinarian) kept his Labrador out of the cat box by placing the box in a room and installing a kitty door. Problem solved, except for instances when the human door accidentally was left open.

If your dog is small enough to pass through a cat door, consider placing the litter box on an elevated surface. Or be creative. I’m sure you can figure something out.

ForBid is a product that supposedly makes feces unpalatable to dogs. Usually it is prescribed for dogs who eat their own feces, but if your dog consumes your cat’s feces you can try feeding it to your cats. The product contains MSG (short for monosodium glutamate). People with high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid MSG because it contains sodium. Cats and dogs with these problems also should avoid MSG.

In my experience most pets tolerate MSG quite well. However, in my experience it is only marginally effective at what it’s supposed to do. If I were you I wouldn’t feed it to my cats. Instead, I’d find a new spot for the litter box.

Photo: bon appetit!